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Shepherd students advance to business finals

By Staff | Dec 16, 2011

Shepherd University seniors Krista Youngblood, business administration major of Martinsburg, and Beth Montgomery, R.B.A. student of Shepherdstown, are finalists in the West Virginia Statewide Business Competition.

The competition began with 117 entries from nine institutions of higher education from across West Virginia. Ten teams remain in the competition, five in each category. Youngblood is in the hospitality and tourism category, and Montgomery is in the lifestyle and innovation category. As competitors in the finals, they will receive a three credit West Virginia University course, $1,000 in cash, a weekend bootcamp at WVU, free legal assistance and a mentor. The final round includes comprehensive instruction and an oral presentation to a panel of judges.

In November, four Shepherd students made it to the semifinal round of the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, including Matt Richards, senior communications major from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Haroun Hallack, senior R.B.A. student from Inwood; and Montgomery and Youngblood.

Hosted by West Virginia University’s Entrepreneurship Center in the College of Business and Economics, the competition is open to all majors and is designed to give students the skills and contacts, as well as the motivation, to create a viable start-up company in West Virginia.

The competition, now in its sixth year, lasts the entire academic year, culminating in April. During the first round, students receive feedback and instruction, beginning with a written summary of the business idea, which is scored by a panel of judges. The second round consists of three levels, including a feasibility study, a two-minute elevator pitch and a series of interviews with business professionals to discuss the business plan.

Montgomery’s Comfort Care Bathing Solutions business plan is to create a product that assists with comfort and ease bathing solutions of elderly or frail patients who are in home health care or assisted living. Montgomery said that entering the business competition has helped her realize that she can make her venture a reality, and she hopes to implement her plan upon graduation.

Youngblood’s Blue Ridge Wine Tours plan is centered around wine tours based in Jefferson County, West Virginia, that would travel to wineries along Route 9 in Virginia.

Professor Caroline Glackin is using the competition as class credit in two of her classes, small business management and entrepreneurship and new venture creation.

Two grand prize packages consisting of $10,000 cash, accounting and legal assistance, and virtual or physical incubator space are awarded to the top team in each category: lifestyle and innovation and hospitality and tourism.